Medical weight loss is becoming more commonplace. In this article, the type of methods discussed will cover the different surgeries used in the modern era to help obese individuals lose weight.
It is serious and not for anybody. However, candidates for medical weight loss surgery are usually so morbidly overweight, it has become a life threatening condition. In most cases, it’s a necessary procedure despite the risks involved.
This type of medical weight loss isn’t for everybody. In fact, most people have to have a body mass index of 40 or more (in the case of lap-band surgery this has been lowered to a BMI of 30 or more). Also, a potential candidate has to prove that he or she has tried other methods of weight loss with no success. He or she also has to pass a psychological examination to determine if they would be able to accept the change in their body image.
So what does medical weight loss (Bariatric) surgery entail?
There are two types of surgery that are performed. One being restrictive, while the other is malabsorptive.
- Restrictive – This type of surgery makes the stomach smaller. Some of the stomach is removed or closed. This limits the amount of food that the stomach can hold and for this reason, you’ll feel full sooner.
- Laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RGB)
- Laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding (AGB)
- Vertical banded gastroplasty (VBG)
- Malabsorptive – This type of surgery shortens the small intestine length at the stomach/small intestine connection. This type of medical weight loss surgery limits the amount of food that can completely digest or absorb into the body.
- Biliopancreatic diversion (BPD)
Does medical weight loss surgery work?
This surgery has given the right candidates great results. They lose a lot of weight after surgery and it usually continues for 18 to 24 months. There are usually cases where some regain the weight back, but there are very few that regain it all back.
That’s why even with a successful surgery, the person will get a good head start on weight loss, but they still need to adopt better eating and exercise habits to go along with the surgery for long-term results.
What are the risks of medical weight loss surgery?
Unfortunately with these procedures you might experience side effects. These include:
- Dumping – This is associated with malasorptive surgery. It’s when the stomach empties too rapidly into the small intestine causing weakness, nausea, faintness, sweating and possibly diarrhea.
- Vomiting- this is exclusive to a restrictive type surgery. If too much food is being ingested with the new smaller stomach, this can cause a vomiting response.
- Complications - many complications such as hernias, breakdown of the staple line and infections could occur. In these cases, other operations might be required.
- Nutritional deficiencies – you could possibly get anemia, metabolic bone disease or osteoporosis. However, most people that have had these operations do well in this area thanks to regular vitamin and mineral supplementation.
In conclusion, medical weight loss surgery is a serious undertaking. However, even with the risks and depending on your health, it could save your life. Therefore, it could be well worth the risks and potential complications.